The eviction of The Kashmir Walla from its offices a day after the Indian government blocked the independent website and its social media handles under its Information Technology Act. A new report finds that most parts of Southasia lack economic and political environments that enable independent media to function. Photo: IMAGO/Pacific Press Agency
The eviction of The Kashmir Walla from its offices a day after the Indian government blocked the independent website and its social media handles under its Information Technology Act. A new report finds that most parts of Southasia lack economic and political environments that enable independent media to function. Photo: IMAGO/Pacific Press Agency

State of Southasia #05: Journalism in crisis across Southasia

Journalist and editor Laxmi Murthy examines the stark deterioration of media independence and freedom of expression in Southasia, and its implications for elections and democracies

On 3 May, which is World Press Freedom Day, the International Federation of Journalists released its report on press freedom in Southasia for the year 2023–2024.  The report, titled Artificial Independence: The Fight to Save Media and Democracy, notes that in Southasia “the year under review saw the erosion of the expected institutional safeguards for an independent media, due to which the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of ensuring public access to information and protecting fundamental freedoms remained disappointingly unfulfilled in the region.”

According to the report, the multifaceted nature of crisis facing Southasian journalism includes economic and political pressure that has had devastating impacts on the media’s influence and sustainability; attacks on journalists, including physical assaults, abduction, arbitrary detentions, and even killings; information blockades including internet shutdowns and the destruction of archives; clampdowns on digital platforms and spaces; external control and intimidation of media workers; as well as self-censorship and an erosion of trust in the media.

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